May 7th, 2012
07:17 AM ET

French, Greek elections: Lessons for the U.S.?

The U.S. economy is currently on autopilot: A sharply polarized Congress and a tapped out Federal Reserve can't do much more to stimulate it this year.

But the economy may still hit turbulence after voters in France and Greece delivered a resounding anti-austerity message over the weekend to their governments.

That message, say analysts, is likely to have implications for the United States that extend from its fragile economy to its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Hollande swept to victory Sunday, becoming France's first-left wing president since Francois Mitterand left office in 1995.

That was followed by news that voters in Greece dealt major blows to the country's two most established parties in parliamentary elections, leaving no party with anything approaching a majority.

The message from voters in both countries appeared to be the same: The current policy of deficit-cutting, reduced spending and cuts to benefits and public services is unacceptable.

The election results leave in question what happens now to the eurozone and its debt crisis. France is a key player in plans to navigate it. And Greece is a recipient of bailout by the European Central Bank that requires the government to slash spending.

Read more about the implications

Topics: Debt Crisis • Elections • France • Greece

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Hahahahahahahaha

    Then we wouldn't be able to see republicans make total a$$es out of themselves on tv. Hahahahahahahahaha

    May 7, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      You really haven't a clue do you?

      May 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
  2. George Patton

    While Francois Hollande is an improvement over that Washington puppet Nicholas Sarkozy, will he have enough sense to pull France out of the Eurozone and go back to using the French franc? Hopefully at least, he doesn't appear to be quite so anxious to carry out orders from Washington D.C. as Sarkozy had been!

    May 7, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
  3. Koda

    I think we will continue to see a rise in power of such radical parties as the "Golden Dawn" party, which is honestly quite frightening. I would rather communist parties be in charge, than fascist parties, albeit they have little power now, if any, but just the idea for them to have a chance is shocking in this day and age.

    May 7, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Even the Greek Fascists are starting to make these self-styled moderates of today look bad, Koda. I wouldn't at all mind it if the Fascists did come to power in Greece as long as they pull Greece out of the Eurozone and quit taking orders from Washington D.C.!

      May 7, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
      • ✠ RZ ✠

        A facist dictatorship may be the ideal means to take a country from rags to riches. And as long as there are solid mechanisms and safe guards in place to avoid unwanted forms of racialism and/or immediately terminate the leadership, I think all governments should be benevolent fascist dictatorships. At least that way they might actually be able to accomplish something.

        May 8, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  4. joe anon 1

    austerity is for bankers, their bootlicks.

    May 7, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  5. Koda

    I think we will continue to see a rise in power of such radical parties as the "Golden Dawn" party, which is honestly quite frightening. I would rather communist parties be in charge, than fascist parties, albeit they have little power now, if any, but just the idea for them to have a chance is shocking in this day and age. 😡

    May 7, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  6. deep blue


    May 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • deep blue


      May 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • deep blue

        three word test

        May 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  7. deep blue

    economy bad

    May 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      government voted out

      May 7, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  8. Kuato Lives

    Europeans got too comfy with their little welfare state and don't want to give it up.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  9. j. von hettlingen

    Francois Hollande is an experienced political organiser although he has never held national government office. He looks boring but when he speaks, he becomes lively and still remains calm and rational. His policies would be more consistant and less unpredictable than those of Sarkozy, who fluttered around like a wasp looking for nectar. Hollande is determined to establish a good relationship with Germany and would most likely appoint Jean-Marc Aryault as prime minister, a veteran socialist parliamentarian and mayor of the city of Nantes, who is also a German speaker and could help build up relations with Angela Merkel in Berlin. Washington doesn't need to worry too much about Hollande's stance towards the U.S. In fact Hollande and Obama might get along even better.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:20 am | Reply
  10. j. von hettlingen

    It's unclear whether the elections in France and Greece could serve the U.S. a lesson. No doubt the three countries have the same fundamental problems – high depths and low growth. All three are trying to cut spendings. While the U.S. has better chances to get out of this mire better than France, Greece is an absolutely hopeless case. The elections last Sunday saw landslide victories of far-left and far-right fringe groups, that are anti-austerity measures and the defeat of the two major mainstream parties. The biggest shock was the virulently anti-immigrant party, "Golden Dawn". Labelled as neo-Nazis and known for the ideology of racial purity, their leader was filmed making a Hitler salute on camera and ranting, all immigrants should leave the country.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:54 am | Reply
  11. MG.

    The Democrats will continue to spend us out of existence until someone we stop them! The 2 most expensive gov'ts in human history were the 110th and 111th all Democratic controlled congresses along with Obama adding more to our national debt than the last 3 presidents combined. Obama outspent 8 years and 2 wars of G.W.Bush in his fisrt 19 months as president and will have added $6.5 trillion to our national deficit by the time he finishes his final year as president in 2012! ...we are looking more and more like the E.U. everyday! ....look it up at "federalbudget" site!

    May 8, 2012 at 6:24 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      The bulk of the US national debt was incurred between 1981 and 1996 or so, when debt rose from 31% of a $3 trillion GDP to 69% of a $7.8 trillion GDP. The national debt was reduced to around 59% of a $11n trillion GDP by the year 2000 (when incidentally we ran a budget surplus). By inaguration day in 2009 the Federal debt stood at about 88% of a $14 trillion GDP. Since then the national debt has risen to about 95 or 98% of a $16 trillion GDP.
      There are your debt figures in 2005 chain weighted dollars. taken from Burea of Economic Analysis data.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:24 am | Reply
  12. reasonableone

    Well, if we go the way of France and Greece, we will be as bankrupt as they are. We can continue to print money and create wealth out of thin air for only so long before the rest of the world figures us out and they stop believe the dollar has any value. And that is all that keeps all of this going: the belief that the dollar has value. Pop that bubble and hello, third world USA.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  13. dreamer

    No one couldn't approve people to live in poverty ( without education, healthcare and a place to call home). And that it's not fascist or evil, it's what I dare call human kind. But I guess, it's not for now...

    May 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  14. deniz boro

    This election mania of Europe seems to be sweaping the Western world out of its feet. Short term personal passions of a few people will end up balancing off the economy of the world to such a degree that the rest of the world will not be able to set the balances right. 5 major elections in a year is more distructive than 5 major sun bursts (as you know our solar system is going through a special cycle and the universal forces do play a part on our earth's environment). Taxes received from the income of the world population will not be enough to cover the incapaciey of certain elected world leaders.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  15. Muin

    There is nothing to learn from Europe. Cameron is right. You just can't have one currency under multiplr government.. However, britain tried exactly what far right conservatives are asking to do. It didn't work.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:49 am | Reply
  16. KC

    No lessons in US. The same sheep line up and vote the same crooks in office.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply

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